Airfoil: Agency Business Report 2011

Airfoil is still tech focused, but moved from a practice area structure to a portfolio structure this year to facilitate growth and better serve clients. Consumer tech and enterprise tech accounts grew the most in 2010.

Principals: Lisa Vallee-Smith, CEO, and Janet Tyler, president (pictured)
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Southfield, MI; Mountain View, CA

Staff
Staff increased from 48 in 2009 to 52 last year with 18% turnover. There are currently three posts open (junior and senior levels).

Practice areas
Airfoil is still tech focused, but moved from a practice area structure to a portfolio structure this year to facilitate growth and better serve clients. Consumer tech and enterprise tech accounts grew the most in 2010.

Accounts
The roster increased to 27. Wins in 2010 included Achates Power, eBay Classifieds, FordDirect, Microsoft Corporate Accounts and Microsoft Industry, and NVIDIA.
 
Organic growth outpaced new business. The existing client retention rate was 85%.

Financial performance
Revenue rose 7% to $6,810,916. Profit margin doubled to 6%, which president Janet Tyler attributes to "cutting just about everything except marketing budget." The Michigan office pulled in 77% of revenue.

Analysis
Airfoil celebrated its 10th anniversary last summer and Tyler says it is benefiting from being "relatively young" as clients are increasingly looking for fresh thinking.
 
"Clients are willing to try new tools," she explains. "That might include making agency changes and we're benefiting from that. They're increasingly asking for digital and measurement. Our in-house research team continues to drive clients. The more data we give them to show ROI, the better. Particularly in social media, when clients are experimenting, it's really important. It's good for us because there's revenue increase."

Tyler cautiously predicts 11% overall growth this year and estimates 30% growth for the Silicon Valley office.

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